As Nigeria grapples with the recent removal of fuel subsidies, the surge in fuel prices has inflicted severe challenges upon school operators, particularly in terms of transportation and power generation. The exorbitant cost of fueling vehicles and generators has tripled, leaving many school owners unable to sustain their usual services.
According to calculations by BusinessDay, Africa’s largest economy has witnessed a staggering increase in fuel prices from an average of N191.8 per litre to N526.7 per litre in just a month. This sudden spike has had a cascading effect on school operations, directly impacting the transportation of students and the provision of a comfortable learning environment.
Oworonke Adepoju, a school owner in Lagos, expressed her distress to BusinessDay, explaining that the inability to procure fuel has caused several buses to be inoperable. Moreover, when fuel is occasionally available, it comes at exorbitant prices, forcing school owners to pay over 200 percent of the previous rates.
Consequently, students are experiencing delays in being picked up, resulting in dissatisfaction among parents. Unfortunately, school operators find themselves powerless in this situation, as the fuel scarcity and exorbitant prices are beyond their control.
Elizabeth Ohaka, the proprietress of Redwood Academy, a private nursery and primary school in Lagos, emphasized that the impact of the fuel subsidy removal is still fresh and that the school is actively seeking ways to adapt to this new challenge. She acknowledged that both the school and parents are facing difficulties, and they are considering adjusting tuition fees in the upcoming term.
One concerned parent, Kinsley Amechi, shared his predicament with BusinessDay, describing the dilemma of shuttling between work and his children’s school. The unreliable arrival times of school buses have compelled him to make alternate arrangements to ensure his children’s punctuality. The school administration has informed parents that bus fares will be renegotiated due to the escalating costs associated with maintaining transportation services.
Ayeni Olawiyola, another parent, narrated a distressing incident where his children almost missed school because the institution was unable to secure fuel. The head teacher informed him that they could not operate the buses, leaving him to arrange alternative transportation using a tricycle. In addition, the school insisted on revising the fare due to the higher fuel pump prices.
The fuel price hike has placed an overwhelming burden on schools, hindering their ability to fulfill transportation obligations and provide an optimal learning environment. With the rising costs of fuel, schools are compelled to seek solutions to navigate this challenging situation, considering the impact on both their operations and the financial burden on parents.
As the Nigerian government grapples with the consequences of fuel subsidy removal, it is crucial to address the pressing concerns of school operators and parents. Mitigating the effects of the fuel price hike on education should be a priority, as it directly impacts the accessibility and quality of schooling for children.
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